McDonogh girls withstand furious St. Frances rally to advance to IAAM final

McDonogh’s No. 1 girls basketball team got off to such a fast start in Saturday’s Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference semifinal that St. Frances could not catch up despite a furious fourth-quarter rally.

The Eagles held on for a 55-47 win over the No. 6 Panthers and will go after their second title in three years Monday against No. 3 Roland Park, a 50-46 winner over No. 5 St. Vincent Pallotti in the other semifinal. The title game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Archbishop Spalding.

McDonogh (25-2) scored the first nine points and guards Danielle Edwards and Dajah Logan combined for 20 points in the first half. The host Eagles boosted their lead to 17 early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers used an 11-2 run capped by Pere Alexander’s 3-pointer to cut the lead to 50-44.

St. Frances could only hang around the six-point deficit for the rest of the game, missing their last six shots while the Eagles grabbed key rebounds.

“I think it was just their will to fight that brought them back,” said McDonogh forward Brianna Jacobs. “They don’t give up. We knew they were going to keep pushing the whole game. Our job was to stay on top of it and make sure we didn’t lose our focus.

“We came out confident. Coach Brad [Rees] told us to come out and play our game, and everything would be fine. I think we did a good job of that.”

The Panthers scored nine of their 16 fourth-quarter points on free throws, with Alexander going 6-for-8 and making a 3-pointer.

McDonogh’s Andrea Robinson helped stall the Panthers’ comeback, hitting 3 of 4 free throws — two of which broke up an eight-point Panthers run with 2:26 to go.

Edwards and Logan led the Eagles with 15 points each, while Jacobs added 14. Adre’onia Coleman scored 17 for the Panthers, including 12 in the second quarter.

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